Visiting a dentist for a professional teeth whitening treatment isn't always in the cards — sometimes it doesn't fit within your busy schedule or budget. But there are plenty of at-home alternatives to choose from, including two products from Colgate Optic White that just launched today: a LED whitening kit that’s powered by your phone and a whitening pen filled with hydrogen peroxide serum.
In an exclusive interview with Select, Kristen Babkes, associate director of whitening with Colgate IMC, told us the brand developed these products based on customer feedback, making sure that they’re easy to use, effective and safe for sensitive teeth. She noted that at-home teeth whitening products are especially of interest lately as people head into the office, attend in-person events or take photos during special occasions. And since many become comfortable doing beauty and wellness treatments themselves during the pandemic, reaching for an affordable, over-the-counter option is now often the default for shoppers.
Below, we broke down Colgate’s new teeth whitening products, how they work and what we learned after trying each one ourselves. As experts previously told us, be sure to talk to your dentist before using any at-home teeth whitening products to confirm that it’s the right treatment plan for your needs.
Colgate Optic White ComfortFit LED Whitening Kit
One of the most unique aspects of Colgate’s new LED device is that it’s powered by your phone. You plug it into an Apple or Android smartphone and press the power button to start a 10-minute treatment — you can still use applications on your phone while the device is plugged in. The LED device beeps to let you know five minutes have passed, then beeps again and turns off when the treatment is over. And while you can pair the LED device with a companion app to track your whitening applications, doing so is optional.
Colgate says its LED whitening kit can remove up to 10 years of tooth stains in three days, but recommends using it 10 days in a row for the best results. The kit comes with two products that work together to help brighten your smile.
- The included whitening pen is filled with a hydrogen peroxide serum. You brush the serum on your teeth and the hydrogen peroxide works to break down stains on the tooth surface and below the enamel, said Melissa Martinetti, senior technical associate with Colgate research and development.
- The included LED device amplifies the hydrogen peroxide serum, the brand says, and the flexible mouthpiece molds to your smile to offer uniform whitening. The brand told us that some competitive LED devices emit a blue light, which has a high wavelength and low energy level. Colgate, however, designed its LED device with purple light technology, which has a short wavelength and high energy level, Martinetti said. This technology helps the hydrogen peroxide serum break down stains faster and more effectively, she explained.
Colgate sent me a kit to try and I found whitening treatments to be incredibly convenient. Since you don’t have to be near an outlet, you can plug the device into your phone and whiten your teeth whenever you have time, like while you’re doing your skin-care routine, watching TV or working at your desk. I whitened my teeth before bed and slept with the serum on, brushing it off in the morning, as per Colgate's recommendation. Doing this, I saw a noticeable difference in my teeth’s appearance after one treatment, but the slightly yellow tint really began to fade after three treatments.
Colgate Optic White Express Teeth Whitening Pen
Colgate says it designed its Express Teeth Whitening Pen for those who need to see results quickly, like before an event or taking photos, for example. When used according to the directions, the brand says you’ll see results in a day — Rebecca Rodriguez, Select editorial operations associate, tried the whitening pen and said it took a few days to see noticeable results. You click the back of the pen to dispense a hydrogen peroxide gel and apply it to teeth using the brush tip. The brush is small enough to target individual teeth if you’re concerned about specific problem areas, Colgate says.
Rodriguez said after using the whitening pen for a few days, it became part of her routine. The steps involve applying the serum, waiting an hour and brushing it off — it’s an easy process once you nail it down. Colgate recommends using the whitening pen three times the first day and twice days two through seven.
If you’re looking for other at-home teeth whitening treatments, we spoke to dentists about options like whitening toothpaste, whitening strips and more from brands like Crest, SmileDirectClub and Burt’s Bees. Colgate’s new LED whitening kit is available for $49.99 at Amazon, Walmart and Target, and the whitening pen is available for $24.99 at Amazon, Rite Aid and Walgreens (note that these are original prices and are subject to change).
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